My Father is Coming (1991)

“I had trouble takings orders from men.”

Vickie (Shelley Kastner) is a waitress in New York hoping for her big break as an actress when she receives the news that her father, Hans (Alfred Edel) is coming from Germany for a visit. Vickie decides to pretend she is married to her roommate, Ben (David Bronstein). Ben, however, isn’t interested in Vickie at all, but he is deeply attracted to a male exotic dancer, and even helps him develop his dance routines. Vickie’s father (a marvelous character) arrives with bags full of German food, and at first he seems decidedly crusty and old-fashioned. But then Hans accompanies Vickie to an audition and he strikes up a relationship with performance artist, Annie Sprinkle.

The film My Father is Coming certainly conveys the flavour of bohemian New York, and Vickie’s life is full of quirky characters–the chef at the restaurant, Annie Sprinkle and her auditions, Ben and his Latin lover, and Joe (Michael Massee) who used to be Joan, a female to male transsexual. While Alfred Edel fills every inch of his role, some of the other performances are a bit shaky.

Images of Vickie’s grotty New York apartment are a refreshing change from the Hollywood portrayal of those who live in million dollar penthouse apartments. The characters in this obscure film, and the lives they lead–complete with frustrations and disappointments–seem real. Unfortunately, the film falls down in the loose, ill-formed plot. The dilemma is supposed to be Vickie’s father’s visit, and the need to hide the fact Vickie lives with a gay man. The storyline line makes this a big dilemma, and it’s not played for laughs (La Cage aux Folles) or deadly seriously either. It’s all rather blah. Just why does Vickie need to deceive her father, but finds it ok to drag him off to an audition with Annie Sprinkle? The film never makes that clear. I’m not certain what all the fuss was about. Vickie’s dilemma was fabricated for plot reasons, but then this element was dropped along the way. The film develops another storyline as Hans goes off and has his own adventures with Annie Sprinkle. Vickie’s half-hearted efforts to lie to her dad about her relationship with Ben weaken the plot, and this causes the film to fizzle to its non-climatic ending. Some scenes are in German and are subtitled in English.


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